Kids Leading Worship

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The kids at my church are with us in the sanctuary until just before the pastor preaches. Then he calls them forward and prays for them, and the congregation says, “May God bless you as you worship.” The children respond, “May God bless you as you worship,” before heading downstairs for children’s church where they sing, read a Bible story, and respond to the story together.

The last Sunday of the month is different. On that Sunday all the kids (except for the ones in the nursery) stay for the entire service. Before the sermon they lead the congregation in worship using one of the songs they’ve been singing downstairs. I love the way the children’s worship leader makes this happen—it’s not a choir, it’s not a performance, it’s just all the kids that happen to be there that morning coming up front to show the adults how to sing and do the motions for one of their favorite songs.  

This Sunday the song involved twirling, stomping, jumping, clapping, leaning, and praying—all motions that the kids chose for the song. I was up front with them, so I could feel their energy grow as they saw that the adults really were jumping, clapping, and twirling right along with them!

Most of the time we send kids downstairs to worship during the sermon because we want them to experience God’s story in a way that engages their lives in a meaningful way, and to express worship with all the zeal that children have. But once a month, when we bring a little taste of children’s church upstairs for everyone to experience, it sends a powerful message to the kids: Your songs are important too—important enough for everyone to sing! Your praise is pleasing to God! Your time downstairs is real worship!   

A church full of twirling, stomping, clapping, jumping members is quite a sight, and one that sends a memorable message! What about your church? What spoken and unspoken messages are sent to the children? What can we do to welcome kids more fully into every aspect of church life?  

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  • Children & Worship
  • Sunday School > Nurturing Faith
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We just began a new program (so we'll wait to determine its success!) called weWorship.  (One child thought I said WiiWorship and was a bit dissappointed).  During our family nights twice a month the 1st-6th graders gather to think about the many different ways we can worship God.  Each month a different leader guides them in a different theme.  For example, last month they thought about how God is worshipped through dance. They read a Bible story about David dancing, they drew pictures, and they came up with a dance to a worship song.  They also talked about the difference between performing a dance and using it to help people worship.  Then, the last Sunday of the month the children have an opportunity to lead us in worship using what they've learned.  For us it is a way to integrate children into leading worship.

Sounds like a great idea!! What are some of the other forms of worship you hope to have the kids explore? I love the weWorship/WiiWorship mix up--made me laugh out loud!!!

We are just getting into this, we call it "Intergenerational Worship", (too bad we can't mix that one up like wii, a bit of humour is always helpful!). I am the organist , Praise Team and Organist have been playing together in the services since we installed our "new" pipe organ in 2003, it works. Now we have youth led services once in the three months, how it will work out is unknown at this time, but our youth leader kicked my proverbial conservative behind by challenging me to play the electronic keyboard with them (heresy!?). We had one of our hymn fests, but this time in the morning service, the Genesis Club participated with the processional hymn, two 15 year old girls volunteered to sing a solo during the offertory (they picked a hymn!, I was thrilled), I played the keyboard for the first time while they sang, (I didn't know that I could play the violin, cello, flute and pan flute!, before the girls sang I announced to the congregation that in the last two weeks I had learned to play these instruments, a few came up after the service and asked where I was standing when I played these instruments, GOTCHA!) another young lady sang a solo with one of our youth leaders, a whole new world opened up for myself and I hope for the congregation as well. Our goal is to have us all appreciate the different ways in how we feel connected to God no matter how that is expressed, a two way street and tall order, but with Gods help it will be so.

I like you John, Your humor and humility is contagious. God bless you

I think it is always encouraging to see our young ones worshiping.  In our church and most all churches Sunday school is valued as a critical place to teach the love of Jesus in a smaller, age appropriate environment.  I'm sure your congregation was thrilled to watch the children.  Our church has not done this in a very long time and your post helped light a fire for me to talk with our Children's Director about seeing this through.  I think the children leading the elders helps us all to loosen up and rejoice for Jesus together...no matter what age.

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